<HKD5,000: An "Oversized" Zenith Sporto
Considered "oversized" when it was produce in 1950s, this Zenith Sporto came in a 37mm steel case that hits the sweet spot in terms of case size to be considered a legitimate dressy option for the modern ladies and gentlemen. What we really like about this watch is, despite a pretty standard treatment to the dial arrangement (applied baton hour markers, small second at 6 o'clock etc.), its logo, which consists of a small star with the words "Zenith Sporto" artfully sitting beneath, makes the watch all the more interesting and keep things away from becoming dull and rigid.
The dial, although having been restored, remains exact to original. Other important parts are also correct including the signed crown and original secondary clear case back. The movement is Zenith's in-house 40T, a chronometer movement. All these can be had for less than HKD4,700 here. Talk about bang for the buck.
HKD 5,000 - 50,000: A "Nonius" Flyback Chronograph from Longines
Coming in a 43mm steel case, this chronograph will look as in place today under the general trend that favors a larger case size. It has a rather quirky, asymmetric appearance in terms of dial arrangement with a single 30-min register at 3 o'clock which contrasts nicely with the largely black watch face.
In a standard chronograph, one has to pause the running chronograph by pressing the button at 2 o'clock again, before he could reset the chronograph by pressing the other button at 4 o'clock. But for a flyback chronograph, such as this Longines we are reviewing, the chronograph hand (in this case the strikingly yellow hand) could be reset without having to first stop the chronograph, and would immediately "fly" back to zero upon pressing the 4 o'clock button and start running again. This is exceptionally useful for the timing of events in laps (e.g. motor racing). The yellow hand - carrying an extended section towards its end with 1-to-9 markings - is patented by Longines, which helps the wearer to determine to read the 1/10th time, by looking to the number of the hand "in line" with the inclined concentric minute division. All of these are powered by the caliber 538/30CH, a column wheel chronograph open to appreciation via the display case back.
HKD 50,000 - 100,000: An Early Blancpain Fifty Fathom "Aqua Lung"
In the early 1950s, the Ministry of Defense of France created the French frogmen unit, one of the oldest and most famous underwater military operation unit in the world. These exceptionally skilled combat swimmers were tasked with the some of the most demanding quests including marine equipment protections, rescue and recovery operations etc. Naturally, they'll need a dive watch that doesn't fail, even in the deepest waters. They eventually got in touch with Blancpain, which at the time was still a small watch company, whose CEO Jean-Jacques Fiechter was also an avid diver. At the end, Blancpain came up with the Fifty Fathom (Fathom is a unite of measure of depth, roughly equal to 1.8m) model that responded nicely to all the design specifications and became the diving watch of choice to the French frogmen, and later on, elite underwater units around the world. The rest is history.
What we have here is a circa early 1950s, civilian version of the Blancpain Fifty Fathom, marketed as "Aqua Lung", the name of a highly successful distributor of the Fifty Fathom. For this particular model, the waterproof strength has been raised to 1000ft (or roughly 300m, as indicated on the dial marking), a formidable depth even by today's requirement. As with many watches from the same era, the Aqua Lung has developed a lovely patina, with the rest of the parts being largely intact. The iconic bezel, whose design has not been altered much over the past decades, remains firmly in place and its simple markings have only added to the utilitarian vibe of this legendary diver.
This 35mm piece of history is being offered here for around HKD53,500. A steal by all measure, if you ask us.
HKD 100,000 - 150,000: A Piaget Altiplano 900P in Rose Gold, the Thinnest Mechanical Wristwatch in the World.
This rose gold reference is only 3.65mm thick (more like, thin, really). You must be wondering how thick is the movement then? Legitimate question, but it cannot be really answered in a conventional sense because the watch is essentially the movement itself, with the case back doubling as the main plate for the movement components. To further shred away unnecessary space, the dial is off-centered and set into the bridges, an innovative treatment for maximum economy. All the gears are spread out and exposed to achieve the absolute thinnest combined height possible. Think about it, the thinnest wheel in 900P is only 0.12mm thick. I doubt I could even pick that up just by looking at it without any magnification.
You can now grab this recording-setting timepiece here for around HKD127,000.
HKD 150,000 - 200,000: A Gracefully Aged Patek Calatrava
What we see here is a Ref. 570 made in 1951 with a sleek case size of 35mm in its original pink gold glory. The focus of the show here is the naturally oxidized dial that has developed a coffee hue in a somewhat uneven (but stunning) pattern. The minute and second markers are also in the desired "railway" format, adding to the groundedness of the watch profile as a whole.
Trust us. Get this watch, wear it (without explicitly flaunting it - we know it's not easy to play it down when you get own a Patek), and wait for someone who's sophisticated enough to point to it and start enquiring about it and we can guarantee you that would make the prefect, quality conversation opener. Wear it and forget about it. That's the spirit of a true Patek owner.
Antiquorum is auctioning this divine Calatrava with an upper estimate of HKD138,000. Expect it to go over HKD150,000 when the hammer finally drops.